Brand owners believe that 2017 will be the year when direct marketing finally sees a return to the good old days of big gains in spend, according to the results of the latest IPA Bellwether report, which covers Q4 2016.
Despite showing that DM budgets were unchanged during the final quarter, panellists are positive about growth over the coming year. Looking ahead to the 2017/18 financial year, a net balance of +14.4% of the survey panel are forecasting DM budget expansion.
Meanwhile as technology becomes more accessible and millennial shoppers continue to dominate, 2017 is also likely to see increased investment in immersive and experiential marketing, through both events and digital.
Back to Q4 2016, once again events recorded the strongest upward revision to budgets of all the Bellwether categories, with a net balance of +12.3%, up from +9.9% in Q3.
Perhaps less surprisingly, the Internet also continued to gain an increasing share in the marketing mix of companies, recording a net balance of +12.1% for Q4 2016. That compared to Q3’s +9.5% and was the best reading for two years. Within Internet, mobile advertising increased, recording a net balance of +3.9% compared to -2.6% in the preceding quarter; while internet search/SEO recorded a net balance of +7.1%, down slightly on Q3’s 7.3%.
Most notably main media advertising staged a recovery in Q4. The respective net balance rose to +5.1% from -3.8% in Q3. PR also registered an increase in spending, of +2.8%.
Engine Europe and Asia Pacific chief executive Debbie Klein said: “As a result of Brexit, consumer confidence and, by extension, domestic spending might take a hit in 2017. There is, however, a strong case to be made for innovative communications that focus on the longer-term and ultimately help brands to weather the storm.
“Consumers tend to gravitate towards brands that they know and trust during times of uncertainty. It is important, now more than ever, that brands continue to invest in their reputation and profile by communicating with their key audiences.”
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